|West Wall: Pummeling Sector and the Gothodrome
As featured on the cover of a national climbing magazine, this amazing vertical face route is a thug's nightmare: small, horrible crimps; slopers; over-the-head sidepulls; bad, tech feet; and a silty gloss to cap it off. Still, this is an elegant and challenging face climb that, once it sees some traffic, will certainly be one of Colorado's best face routes at this grade.
It is the fourth route from the left on the Pummeling Sector, and climbs the clean (read: blank) tan face up to the 5-foot roof and finishing grey slab. It is about 40 feet left of a blank, very prominent left-facing corner that breaches the same roof. I would give it the S rating only if you move right past the 3nd bolt, at the first crux. If you go straight up, however, it's merely spicy. Given all this, you can use the "good" holds on the right--but if you blew the traverse back left to the fourth bolt, you'll likely take a horrendous ankle-snapper pendulum, potentially nailing some ledge-features below.
Tommy Caldwell bolted this hoping for a 5.11 warm-up. Like all routes at the Fortress, it ended up being two number grades harder than it looked. He named it the Pummeling because, while bolting, he accidentally kicked some choss onto his dad, Mike's, head. Mike wrapped a T-shirt over the wound and toughed out the day. I think he needed stitches later...
The route is very sustained between bolts two and five, with a crux over the lip of the roof and a pretty sporty finishing slab. As this route, like most at the Fortress, sees little traffic, the finishing slab tends to stay a little licheny. Also, the bottom face is coated in nefarious Fortress Powder--an ancient, silk-fine coating of dirt/silt/sulfur that coats most of the yellow or tan rock at the crag, producing holds with the friction coefficient of Teflon. (The water streaks and white/blue rock are much different--standard Western Slope limestone, like Rifle, that you can actually hang on to.)
Bring a nice, stiff tootbrush and maybe even a larger, soft-bristled nylon brush to combat the Powder. It's like nothing I've ever seen ...
I've only toproped the route cuz I'm a big godamned wimp; if you're concerned about the runouts and slippery holds, there is a stick-clip stashed below the Daily Planet that will get you to the chains.
A 60-meter rope is mandatory. As with all routes on this wall, a second pitch could be added.
14 quickdraws and a 60-meter rope.
|By Peter Beal|
From: Boulder Colorado
Apr 15, 2004
Matt, if you're calling yourself a wimp, where does that leave the rest of us? Maybe the Caldwells could fix the situation with a new bolt or two.